Sophocles once noted, “There is no success without hardship.” This quote exemplifies Hell Razah’s experiences in 2010. Just as the former Sunz Of Man member was gearing up to release his new album Heaven Razah in April, he suffered a brain aneurysm that left him in a coma. It was a major scare but the good news came soon after that Razah would be making a full recovery. With his condition steadily improving, Razah & Nature Sounds made the decision to now unleash the sequel to his critically acclaimed Renaissance Child in September. With Heaven Razah, the longtime Wu-Tang affiliate has overcome extreme obstacles to reach a triumphant return.
On this album, Hell Razah delivers one of the most impressive lyrical performances in his career. But one thing is for sure… this is not for the uninitiated. “Word is this album is too deep for them,” says Razah on “Medical Kush.” That’s an accurate statement as he is far from concerned with being catchy & accessible. Razah is strictly focused on substance and it will take a couple spins for even the most ardent Hell Razah fans catch everything he’s saying. There’s a lot to absorb as Razah broadcasts his thoughts, theories & reflections.
“Cinematic” is the album highlight as Razah displays his storytelling ability while weaving in blaxploitation film references over a soulful 4th Disciple beat. “Kids In The Street” sees Ayatollah provide an ominous backdrop for Razah‘s cautionary tale,“I know shorty you feel alone like Macaulay Culkin / That you won’t make it to see 40 before you see a coffin / But don’t rush to sell your soul for that fame and fortune / if it ain’t no bigger portrait than it ain’t important.” Razah is not alone with the superb rhymes though as R.A. The Rugged Man makes a show stealing appearance on the jazzy “Return Of The Renaissance.”
The production throughout the LP suits Razah very well. The album progresses and flows in a way that sonically matches the message in the lyrics. Dev 1 provides a darker tone for the intro & “Negro Angelitos” that directs your attention towards Razah’s every word. The middle of the album then transitions into a more upbeat sound with hard hitting production. As the project nears its end, Hell Razah’s introspective offerings like “Dear God” and the Havoc produced “Armageddon” close on a more solemn note.
Heaven Razah truly marks Chron Smith’s success after hardship. This might be one of those albums that’s not truly appreciated until years later. For those unfamiliar with his work, this is definitely not the place to start. To fully grasp this LP, you have to understand Hell Razah’s career journey. But once you get it and absorb all this project has to offer, you’ll recognize the potency of this album.
Return Of The Renaissance feat R.A. The Rugged Man[audio:http://kevinnottingham.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/08-Return-Of-The-Renaissance.mp3]
Book Of Heaven Razah[audio:http://kevinnottingham.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/03-Book-Of-Heaven-Razah.mp3]